BURLINGTON, Mass. - Strong private-label programs are a common link between domestic and international retailers who outperform their peers in store sales and gross margin improvements, according to a report conducted by Retail Systems Alert Group Research here and sponsored by Burlington, Mass.-based Eqos. "Private-label merchandise -- typically imported -- has become ubiquitous across all retail segments and tiers," said Paula Rosenblum, the report's author and RASG's research and content development vice president, in a statement. The study is based on responses from about 150 retail executives and managers worldwide. It can be downloaded at www.eqos.com.